As Carson High’s only starting sophomore, Asa Carter has made his presence felt on both defense and special teams this season.
Unofficially, Carter racked up seven special teams tackles and nine overall in last weekend’s 55-42 playoff win over Spanish Springs.
“He’s phenomenal,” Carson High coach Blair Roman said Tuesday afternoon as the Senators, 8-2, prepared for their Division I regional game at home Friday at 7 p.m. against Damonte Ranch, 7-3. “He’s a really good football player. He’s done a great job on special teams. He’s done a great job covering kicks and punts.”
Carter is on every special teams unit, and he plays the hybrid strong safety/linebacker position. He took over that spot when Nolan Shine was moved to outside linebacker. Simply put, he spends a lot of time on the football field.
“It’s a little exhausting,” Carter said. “The only break I get is when we’re on offense. I just work as hard as I can. We watch a lot of film and look for what teams are trying to do; where they are trying to run. Coach (Steve) Dilley prepares us well.”
Carter has one interception, has caused one fumble and defensed six pass this season.
Roman said that he would know by Thursday whether he would make a change at place-kicker.
Stefan Sobkiewicz has missed two PATs in each of the last two games, and Roman went to back-up kicker Cody Cunningham, who converted both of his PAT attempts against Spanish Springs.
“Stefan has had a couple of rough games,” Roman said. “Fortunately Cody was able to come in and bail him out. A lot of it has to do with confidence. A lot of kicking is mental.”
Sobkiewicz is 31-for-38 on extra points and a solid 5-for-8 on field goals. Cunningham, who took over kick-off chores recently, has yet to attempt a field goal.
In all fairness, Carson’s punting and extra-point game has been a little off since snapper Jake Guthrie went down with an injury in the first half against Reed. The timing just hasn’t been there.
SCHAFFER ON OFFENSE
Austin Schaffer, who missed much of the season because of a shoulder injury, is expected to get more snaps on the offensive side of the ball on Friday against Damonte Ranch.
Schaffer has three catches for 45 yards, including a key 35-yard catch against Bishop Manogue. He’ll spell Andrew Gutierrez, who starts at cornerback on defense. Gutierrez has 12 catches for 247 yards, including a 45-yard TD catch against Spanish Springs last week. It was Gutierrez’s first TD since the 23-13 season-opening win over Hug.
“Garrett and Andrew read that perfectly,” Roman said. “Teams, since the Hug game, have been defending the backside post route. Spanish Springs had a breakdown, and we took advantage of it.”
Roman said it remains to be seen whether Schaffer will play any defense this week.
THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Through 10 games, the Senators are a plus-6 in the turnover ratio. Carson has forced 18 turnovers and given up the ball 12 times, eight on interceptions and four on fumbles.
“Our goal is a plus-10,” Roman said. “We haven’t recovered many fumbles, but we have quite a few interceptions. I think last year we were a plus-2 or 3. When you’re at a minus number it means you’ve been pretty mediocre. We’ve been pretty opportunistic at times.
“Our running backs have done a good job of taking care of the ball, and we need to continue to do that.”
In 2012, Carson was a plus-3. In 2011, the Senators were a plus-21. In 2010 a plus-16 and in 2009 a plus-30.
Roman doesn’t expect to have any missing players on Friday.
“We have the typical nicks and bruises,” Roman said. “It’s the same stuff that everybody else has at this point in the season.”
Joey Thurman and Nevin Elliott make a formidable 1-2 punch.
The pair have combined for 27 of the team’s 44 scores. Thurman has 798 yards rushing and 178 yards receiving en route to 14 scores, 10 rushing, two receiving and two special teams. Elliott has 799 yards rushing and 77 receiving en route to 12 TDs, 11 of them on the ground.
EARLY WEATHER REPORT
The weather report for Friday is a high of 54 and a low of 29, according DayWeather, Inc.